Tag Archives: Next Food Network Star

Next Food Network Star Finale!!!

So who will win it all! Melissa or Jeffrey? The slightly high strung stay at home mom or the overly zen dad? Let’s find out!

We see got glimpses into Jeffrey and Melissa’s life. It doesn’t surprise me to see that Jeffrey does marshal arts but it did surprise me to see he works in real estate. Melissa has 4, 3, and twins 1 1/2 year old girls. That are some close kids;). Back to the competition.

Alton Brown walks into the room. He tells them that they are going to shoot the pilots. AB will the director. So AB meets with each of them to go over concept. I think this is the perfect final challenge. With some previous winners that was the problem. They won but their shows stunk.

Jeffrey is going to focus on a foreign ingredient and bring it back into the scope US cooking. So they come up with the name Ingredient Smuggler. AB then met with Melissa and she needs to center hers around survival, Your Kitchen Survival Guide.

Melissa is going to make a rustic lemon onion chicken dish using her 4 step chicken method. Melissa was busy harried but Alton reminds her that is isn’t about recipes and concepts but personality. It seemed to calm her down.

Then it was Jeffrey’s turn. He is making a Harissa Steak sandwich with a Sun Dried Tomato and Mint Mayo. Jeffrey was too focused at first and wasn’t relaxed at all. Of course, he finally relaxes and the last take went off well.

Then we launch into the actually finale. I am excited that winner’s show will air in 1 week! Sometimes I think they wait too long.

All boils down to who won? Well…….Melissa!!!

I think she was the best choice! I am excited to see her show next week!

Next Food Network Star (7/26)

So we are almost at the end! Who is going to win? I am pulling for Melissa but we will see! NerdPie is also pulling for Melissa. Will Jeffrey perk it up? Will Debby quit making excuses? Will Melissa contain her energy? Let’s take a look!

So Emeril Lagasse pops up when they finalists enter their restaurant. They are doing a challenge based on Julie and Julia. They each will be creating a 3 course meal for a dinner party with the “culinary elite” of 20. They get $1000 and a sous chef. They will have to demo some portion of the meal live. Before they do anything, they went and watched the movie.
Melissa- 1st: Potato Torte with Ratatouille, 2nd: Brick Herb Chicken with a Mushroom Port Sauce with Orzo, 3rd: Cheese Trio with a Pochette
Debby- 1st: Chili Rubbed BBQ Shrimp with a Savory Corn Salad, 2nd: Braised Korean Short Rib on a Garlic Grit Cake, 3rd: Asian Pear Egg Roll
Jeffrey- 1st: Seared Scallops with Green Chili Chutney and Chipotle Cream, 2nd: Seafood Risotto, 3rd: Chocolate Mousse with Biscotti
Jeffrey only spent $317 but he didn’t go back to get anything else. They go to a home on Miami Beach to cook. They got to see all the names on the name cards and they are really cooking for many of the best. Of course the sous chef are past contestants. Michael is cooking with Debby, Katie with Jeffrey and Jamika with Melissa. While watching Melissa making a potato tort and puts bacon on top, I (and NerdDad) are convinced that I need to try that! Michael (and I ) both think that Debby’s ribs may not be done all the way by service. Melissa was having problems with her food. Jamika over salted the orzo and the potato tarts weren’t cooking.
In the presentation Melissa started to talk about her childhood and talked about her mom killing herself. Over all it was a sweet presentation but I don’t know about talking about suicide. Bobby said he was seeing a different Melissa and she said the other was her nerves. The ratatoullie went over well. Melissa demos her brick chicken with the main course. Some of the chickens were over cooked but the tort was a success. Her dessert was a big hint. John Besch loved the ratatoulle, the tort, and the dessert pastry.
Debby comes out for her presentation. Her appeitizer with pretty. Tyler Florence felt this the appeitizer wasn’t original. Gina Neely felt the ribs were missing something. The dessert is the course that Debby does the demo. Her demo was good. Her dessert was dinged by at least Samuelson’s being a little raw.
Then onto Jeffrey. Jeffrey is planning on under cooking the risotto so it doesn’t congeal before the guests get it. Jeffrey does his demo right off with his scallop appeitizer. His demo was smooth and the course seemed to go well. Then out comes the risotto. No one seemed happy as they were eating it while he was presenting. Payard said it was the worse risotto in his life. He got some great comments regarding his dessert. Bobby did ask how much he spent.
Morimoto and John Besch liked Debby. Anne Burell liked Jeffrey’s demo the best. Samuelson, Emeril, and Bayless seemed to like Melissa. Before we head into judging and elimination, my predictions are Debby and Melissa as the final 2!
Bob said that Melissa pouchette was the best dish of the night. Payard said is was a great pastry. Bobby wanted more in the demo but Melissa got nervous. Bob thought there was diamonds in to much verbage. Then onto Jeffrey. Bob thought his demo was flawless. He got hit pretty hard about not spending enough money. They said he is a good cook and charismatic but not sure if he is a star. Then it is Debby’s turn. Bobby had issues with her food. He wanted more flavor and the egg rolls weren’t all cooked through. Bob said the food was hit and miss. Bobby feels he hasn’t tasted Seoul to Soul. Then they got a shot to say what was on their minds before a decision is made. I personally think that Melissa made the best plea. But I have to say, this is the first season that I can see watching all 3 but my favorites are Melissa and Jeffrey. But I think they are going to choose Melissa and Debby.
The final 2 are Melissa and Jeffrey!!! I would watch both of these shows! Next time we will get some AB!! (Alton Brown) The finalists are going to final shoot some pilots! See you next week!

Next Food Network Star (7/19)

So we are getting near the end. Who do we think is going to make it? I think Jamika’s run might be coming to an end. Or Debby. I think that Jeffrey and Melissa will make it to the end but I have been wrong before.

This week we start off with Chef Michael Simon waiting for the finalists. They are going to have to do a live demo on a Miami morning show. The show kitchen is going to be rigged for problems. Debby gets to go first. They changed out her catfish for chicken and took some of her ustensils. She seemed to really handle everything they threw at her. Melissa is going to have the host messing with her the whole time. The host added hot sauce to her tapenade. She got a little frantic. Jeffrey was having technical issues. His mike gave out. So then they did a boom mike and then a mike he had to hold. He held a mike and a large knife together all the same time. Jamika was going to get wrong time cues and a up close mike. Jamika seemed a little stressed and didn’t smile much. Debby won!
I really relate to Melissa. When she gets nervous she talks really fast. And as any of you who know me real life, that is totally me. If she doesn’t get over that, she is out.
Now we are on to the next challenge. We have outdoor kitchens by the pool. They are having a challenge to get onto the Red Lobster menu (as they have done in previous seasons). They have 45 minutes to make a fresh fish dish that also has a shell fish or crustacean. They only thing they can use to cook is the woodfired grill. Debby got to select her seafood first. Debby went with Tilapia. Melissa went with artic char and scallops. Jamika did MahiMahi and shrimp. Jeffrey gets baramundi with scallops and shrimps.
Then they stopped time. They take Jeffrey’s chilis and they gave them Asian ingredients. Then they take Jamika’s pineapple and gave her celery root. They took Melissa’s citrus and gave her habeneros. Then Debby, they took her Asian ingredients and gave her some Mediteranian ingredients. And the time starts back with 41 minutes on the clock.
Jamika seems inable to fake happiness at all. But everyone else seemed to at least fake happiness. Jeffrey seemed to be able to keep his same basic plan just changed flavors. Jamika says she is pissed and doesn’t know what she is making. At 6 minutes she doesn’t know. Jamika grilled her celery root and then loved the flavor. Everyone else seemed to engage the judging panel.
Debby got hit by Bobby for not using capers. Bobby said the talapia was cooked perfectly. They thought that Melissa balanced the habenero and it went really well. Bob also liked how Melissa handled herself well. Jeffrey’s food went over well. Bobby was disappointed in the lack of spice in Jamika’s dish. Jamika also got hit for not having fun.
After the initial judging Jamika says when she is in the cooking zone don’t mess with her. If you are a grouch when you are cooking you should not invite people into your kitchen! Maybe this isn’t the job for her. After all the cooking, I think Jamika is on her way out.
At judging panel Bobby asked Jeffrey what his focus would be. Jeffrey said cooking without borders but Bobby said that he hasn’t shown that. Bob says that Jeffrey’s zen can translate into vanilla. Bobby said that Jamika’s Jamakin Me Crazy Shrimp was bland. They jumped on her bad attitude with Bob and how that doesn’t work for tv. Bobby was impressed how Melissa handled the habenero’s. Bob said she kind of blew it in the demo but listened to the notes and did well in the final challenge. Melissa layed it out well for Michael on her credibility with moms and scared Bobby a little. Bobby jumped on Debby for not using the capers and how at first she said they were in the dressing. Susie jumped on her for every week there being issues with her being clear/honest. Debby felt she hadn’t been dishonest and felt attacked. She said she just spoke without thinking. Debby thinks she has the most unique viewpoint. Jamika thought that she is memorable. Melissa thinks that her brand can grow the best.
The winner of the challenge was Jeffrey so his dish will be on the menu. I have to say that wasn’t the dish that I am running to Red Lobster to try. Melissa’s not to hot peppers is what I wanted to try.
Jamika was cut.
So we are down to the final 3. While I think Debby has what it takes I don’t think she is the right choice. She has had to many integrity issues and I don’t think the viewing public can embrace her fully with all of this hanging over her. The NerdPie is happy that Melissa is still around. Let’s see who has what it takes to go all the way!

Next Food Network Star (7/12)

So Next Food Network Star is going to Miami! I wonder who is going to shine and who is going to sink this week.

So Ted Allen meets our friends at JFK with the fine dining chef for that part of the airport. They each got assigned a restaurant and they had to cook a dish appropriate for the restaurant. During the assignments my 4 year old wants to know where Katie is. But anyway. They have 30 minutes. The knives are tied down in this place!
Jeffrey got the Italian place and decided to go with bruschetta. Jamika got the sushi place and was doing a seared rare tuna salad. Michael got French and decided to do oysters but they didn’t have a shucking knife. So he went with clams and shrimp. Melissa got the tapas bar and decided to make chicken a la plancha. Debbie got the modern American cuisine/steak place and decided to a spinach salad.

Jamika did ok but she started talking about not eating anything to heavy because she doesn’t like airplane bathrooms. Eww, gross. The Debby talked about women wanting a salad to watch their weight. Susie didn’t care for that at all. I think Susie was just miffed that Debbie didn’t make her a steak. The last person who talked about “women” got tossed. Jeffrey shared about his ethnic background and that was new and interesting. Melissa did really well sharing her background and her food. Michael did ok. He didn’t really add anything other than what is on the plate. He didn’t execute the dish well. Jeffrey’s dish won and Michael’s dish lost.

Then we are off to Miami. The hotel was pretty. Ted Allen was waiting for them in the lobby. They had to work as a team to cook for a cocktail party. They each need to create 2 appetizers and as a group have a signature drink. Jeffrey gets to assign tasks to everyone as his prize. Michael is going to be the bartender. Debby is going to be in charge in the kitchen due to her catering experience. They got 2 hours to prep and cook before the party. They all seemed the mess in the prep kitchen. I don’t know if anyone caught this but Debby says that her dish is a marinaded chicken then grill the chicken and then soak it in the marinade. Does she mean clean marinade? If she is putting it back into the marinade she used, she can get someone sick! Debby was also going to head up the kitchen during service and she doesn’t seem aware of much beyond her own dishes.

Then onto the party. Michael is on the bar and Jeffrey was serving. Then Jamika went out to serve and that left just Debby and Melissa to make everyone’s food. The judges weren’t impressed with Jeffrey’s food. They thought Jamika’s jerk was to mild but liked her shrimp. Melissa ended up with 5 dishes, Jamika was doing a couple peoples and Debby was only doing her own food. The judges liked the flavors in Melissa but didn’t think they came together well. The judges thought the drink wasn’t spicy as promised. The food was coming out slowly so Bobby goes in the back to see what is going on. Then Michael goes into the kitchen to help. Then Michael comes out with food and totally drops everything on the judges and runs. Then Michael told the judges he doesn’t like the camera. They didn’t care for his food. Then Debby came out. The judges liked her food the best.

The judges didn’t like the fact that the food didn’t come out. Jeffrey got hit on his crab tostada. While Michael was the big host he wasn’t the favorite personality. The judges couldn’t taste the marinade on his salmon. Jamika let the judges she how flustered she was. They thought her jerk was bland. They liked Melissa’s vegetable dish. They loved Debby’s food. Debby said that she was doing what ever she could to get the food out. Debby said that she was being selfless. Melissa said she did 5 dishes on her own. Then the judges did the math and realized Debby only did her own 2 dishes.

Then the judges sent everyone back. Then Jeffrey and Debby started fighting in the back. No one is going to let Debby play the martyr. So did Debbie’s good food balance her team failing? Jamika and Melissa were the first saved. Then it boiled down to Michael and Debby. They called Debby on not owning up to her mistakes. But as was predictable, Michael was cut. But Michael was surprised and was sure we are surprised. Well, surprise Michael but I am not surprise.

So who will make it another week? I think Jamika may be the next to go unless Debby shows another lack of judgement.

Next Food Network Star (7/5)

This week I am less than 100% (you can read about my sad plight here). Since analysis isn’t my thing right now I am not going to do the full breakdown. I am just going to live blog some snark.

It is the Rachel Ray challenge and it is always interesting. Also they get to do their first cooking demo to camera.
The demo is making kids like the non-kid ingredients: squid, brussel sprouts, and tofu. Katie did really well. I was impressed because I wasn’t sure she was going to be a hit with a squid salad. Jeffrey really seemed to pull it out.
For Rachel Ray’s show they have to take kid food and make it for adults. They are working in teams this time. Katie and Debby go Chicken Nuggets and Mac & Cheese. Michael and Melissa are doing Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese. Jeffrey and Jamika have Hot Dogs and Baked Beans.
I don’t think Jeffrey knows what Baked Beans are. He seems to be stuck on the idea that it needs rice. Jamika needs to tell him that Baked Beans don’t have rice. Michael was so confident that he does well in front of an audience but he just choked in the beginning. But I think that Michael and Melissa did well in their demo! The judges thought that Melissa didn’t seem to be having fun. Katie and Debby did much better than I thought they would do. Katie just looked down most of the time. Jamika seemed to just stand there and watch Jeffrey while he talked and cooked. She wasn’t jumping in but he wasn’t really making a spot for her until the last minute. Jeffrey handed off the beans to her. Jamika never smiled. I am wondering if Jamika and Jeffrey will attack each other in judging. The people who remain will go to Miami.
Katie was in the bottom 3. I am shocked, as was she. Bob says that he found her first demo hard to watch. He seems to miss the point that it wasn’t for him but for a group of kids. In the end they sent Katie home. I think that was a mistake.
Next week I will hopefully be back to my normal detailed self. Just in time to go to Miami.

Next Food Network Star (6/28)

Between VBS and my oldest’s birthday, I had a hard time trying to get this up yesterday. But here I am! So do we all thing Teddy is on his way out or can he redeem himself? Is Jeffrey going to stay on top?

So Bobby shows up with a dome. It has a burger under it. Bobby is opening a “Bobby’s Burger Palace” that is about regional burgers. They are going to make burgers in 20 minutes and then they have to present it to camera. The winner will have theirs put on the menu. Katie put an undercooked turkey burger on her bun. Is she going to feed it to them? Melissa did really well in her presentation. Teddy kind of had the game show host thing going again. Oh my goodness, Katie fed them her burger! The bottom 2 were Jamika and Katie. But the top 2 were Melissa and Michael. Michael won and his burger going on the menu.

So for the elimination challenge our finalists find them selves at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. Guy Fieri walks out. The finalists are going to be cooking for soldiers return home from the Middle East. There are 7 baskets each with ingredients that are related to a state. They have to incorporate all the ingredients into their dish. The winner will have their all American dish on the cover of USA Weekend.

Teddy: New York -Duck Breast,Cream Soda, Apples: DLT
Jeffrey: Maine -Lobster, Smoked Adler Seasalt, Blueberries:Potpies
Jeffrey and Teddy cook first. Jeffrey got totally thrown off by the small electric burners. Teddy ums and “let sees” a lot. He had a real hard time. Jeffrey’s food was a huge mess. You could tell he didn’t feel good about his food because it was obvious in the presentation. The judges thought it was gross.

Melissa: New Mexico -Skirt Steak, Chilies, Mesquite Honey :Tostada with a Mango Salsa
Katie: Georgia – Almond, Panko and Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Sweet Vidalia Greens, Molasses and Orange Butternut Squash
Melissa was smart and tasted all the chilies because she doesn’t cook with them. Melissa did great with the presentation. The judges all thought is was tasty. Katie did better with the presentation. Bobby said Katie did well with the catfish.

Jamika: Wisconsin -Cheddar Cheese, Amber Beer, Keilbasa Sausage: Casserole
Jamika couldn’t get the potatoes to cook. So she decides to process them to get them to cook. She even knows that it is going to make gluey potatoes. Her food looks a little messy. Her presentation was relaxed. The judges say the falvors were good but the texture was off.

Debby: California -Chicken Breast, Zinfendel Red Wine, Almonds: Home Cooked Chicken Dinner
Michael: Hawaii-Kompachi, Pineapple, Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia Crust Fish with a Pineapple Sauce
Michael hit Debby in the eye with the corner of her sheet pan. Both of them were so flustered. Michael’s presentation seemed a little to much for me. In spite of her injury, Debby’s food looks great. Debby’s presentation was a little low but I think it was understandable. The judges said the food was bland.

They liked Jamika’s presentation but really didn’t like the food. Bobby liked Katie’s fish and her presentation. Bob slammed her for not including her perspective of healthy food. They also held the Turkey Burger against her. They told Michael that he needs to make friends with the camera because he is great in person. Jeffrey said he was embarrassed about his food. They want more from Jeffrey’s personality. They loved Melissa’s presentation. The soldier’s loved the food. Bobby liked Teddy’s food. He got slammed for reading the notes on his hand and the nervousness. Bob liked Debby’s presentation. Bobby thought the food was bland and not like her. Bobby said that someone needs to jump up and grab the title because no one has it yet.

In the end Melissa won! I just realized who it is Melissa reminds me of. It is Sissy Biggers! But there is always a loser. This was Teddy’ final appearance! His food may have been better than others but his personality was like nails on a chalkboard for me. So I totally think they made the right choice.

Next week is the Rachel Rae show! So it is going to be good.

Next Food Network Star (6/21)

Will Teddy’s being a jerk to Melissa last week bite him in the tush? Will he be the next to go? I am interested in what this week has to offer!

So we start by the contestants meeting Tyler Florence at the grocery star. They have to shop on a budget. They have $60 for a 12 person dinner party. They have to also stop by to do a 30 second tip piece for shopping on a budget. Teddy finds the budget thing a challenge. When he came to film his tip Tyler told him that he was cartoonish. Melissa thinks she will do the best with a budget since she feeds her family every night. We will see how it will actually pan out. Jamika kept blinking and she told people to reuse marinades so she is going down. Katie started with a bad tip but she ended up really doing a good job. It was shocking how well she did. Jeffrey was $12 under budget, I think that may have been to much cutting. Jeffrey won the tip challenge.

Elimination Challenge:
Now they have to cook the 12 person dinner using what they bought for the elimination challenge. So they head out to the Hampton’s to cook. Of course they are delivered to Ina Garten’s house. They have to make dinner for Ina, her friends and the celection committee. Then they are told that they will be in teams of 2. Jeffrey got to pick his own teammate as a reward for winning the tip challenge. They have to make a appetizer, entree and dessert. Each team member was responsible for 1 course and then they were to collaborate on the last. They are cooking 2 teams at a time. They have an hour to cook and 2 minutes to present.

First up at Debby and Teddy along with Eddie and Melissa. Debby is wary of Teddy since he threw Melissa under the bus last week and Eddie is afraid that Melissa doesn’t have the cooking chops. Things seem to start well with Debby and Teddy because they are working well together. But Teddy didn’t have a plan for the dessert. 5 minutes until they are supposed to be done and Teddy is just throwing his dessert together. Melissa and Eddie are really working separately. But when they work together Eddie isn’t being very nice. Eddie seemed a little short in his presentation and a bit dismissive to Melissa. Melissa’s chicken was bland but Eddie’s salad was totally overpowered by onion. Debby presented calmly and it seemed to mellow Teddy out more than usual. I think Teddy may get slammed for his dish just being an assembly. The judges liked the appetizer and the meatloaf but the dessert tasted store bought.

Teddy & Debby: (D)Vegetable Linguine with an Asian Marinara, (C)Meatloaf with a Peach and Apricot Sauce, (T)Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
Eddie & Melissa: (E)Sweet Onions and Watermelon Salad, (M)Lemon Thyme Chicken, (C)Bananas Foster Nutella Quesadilla

Then it was the next 2 teams turn. Jamika is using a store bought marinade so she added a few things. She says that she doesn’t have enough salmon to keep tasting it. Jeffrey thinks the soup isn’t spicy enough so he added some of the Red Chili seeds back into it. Michael cuts himself and just feels off. Jeffrey did well with his presentation and then helped Michael with his. Michael seemed off. The judges liked the soup but it still seemed a little mild. The judges also liked Michael’s main but I didn’t hear anything one way or the other about Jeffrey’s crepes. Jamika seemed smooth in her presentation and Katie still did a bit of education but did better. The judges thought that the dishes didn’t go together at all.

Katie & Jamika: (J)Salmon w/Seaweed and Pepper Slaw, (K)Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccolini, (C)Fruit Salad with Grilled Pineapple
Jeffrey & Michael: (C)Roasted Tomato and Red Chili Soup, (M)Pesto Rubbed Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Rabe, (J)Chocolate Filled Crepe

They dinged Jamika and Katie for not having their food more cohesive. They really liked Jamika’s dish but Katie’s was just ok. They told Katie to stop educating again. They thought that Jeffrey and Michael’s plate looked great. The soup was to mild. They also didn’t like that they heard the same story about Jeffrey and his daughter with the crepes. They liked Michael’s food but his presentation seemed lost. They thought that it was clear that Melissa and Eddie weren’t working together. Melissa said that there was tension. Bobby said that he saw the tape of them cooking together and saw Eddie rolling his eyes. Bobby told him that a little chivalry goes a long way in the kitchen. They thought the chicken looked good but could use some more flavor. Then they turned to Eddie’s salad. Bobby said that the onion was over powering and it seemed to be something Eddie had done before. Eddie then said he got it out of a Paula Deen cookbook. Whoa! It is one thing to base something off a recipe you have heard but to put your twist on it but… They are looking for something original. They liked Debby’s presentation and the food. They thought that Teddy’s dessert was a disaster. Then Teddy claimed the meatloaf as his dish. He did it again!!! Debby made the sauce and flavored the meatloaf. Bobby doesn’t like the way things are going with Teddy’s lack of responsibility. I think this has to make Melissa feel a little better because it wasn’t her.

Jeffrey and Michael won. That wasn’t shocking at all. The bottom 2 were Teddy and Eddie. Eddie said he should stay because of integrity and Teddy said he has the cooking chops. I think who ever doesn’t go this week will go next week. Eddie was in the bottom last week too. Eddie was the finalist sent home. I think Teddy will go next week because he proved that he has a lack of integrity.

While I think I know who will be kicked out next week. But I have no idea who will exceed. See you next week to see if I am at least right about Teddy getting kicked off!

Next Food Network Star (6/14)

So here we meet again. I am interested to see what this “holiday” episode will hold for us. I don’t think you will last long on Food Network if you can’t make it through the holidays due to all the specials that they do. Let us see who will make the cut!

So everyone comes in for their mini challenge. An editor for Esquire magazine is the guest judge and the winner’s recipe will be featured in the magazine. They are given typical “man” ingredients. They all seem to be a meat paired with an relatively odd ingredient. Like coffee beans, cereals, syrup, pistachios, etc. Jeffrey really seems a bit bewildered to tie in pistachios. It is a standard nut crust, right?
Then they got to do a direct to camera presentation. Eddie needs to not use lovely when presenting man food. Melissa was a bit of a mess and the food was bland. Jamika was smooth at the start but forgot her ingredients and so she froze. Jeffrey ran a little long because he just shared the food and not himself. Teddy and this mind of the chef thing bugs me. He seemed to yell a little so it was off putting. Brett seemed to be trying too hard and was also yelling. Michael never said his name (I had to go look it up) and ran short. It was a bit painful. Debbie seemed really pleasant and easy going. Katie was all about sneaking health and not tasting good. The winner was Eddie.
Our contestants all go over to Hearst Corp and Good Housekeeping. Giada walks in. The winner will get their recipe and a feature in Good Housekeeping (with their 25 million readers, wow). They have to do a simple, creative holiday dish. Eddie got to assign holidays to the other finalists.
Once everyone is assigned, they got props off the table to decorate. I wish Jeffrey and Brett would have been more literal. April Fool’s Day would have been great time to do a cute literal take. Melissa was a bit chaotic but I think Teddy and Brett, who were helping her plate, were making it seem worse.
Eddie: Valentine’s Day: Seared Ahi with Orange Ginger Sake Glaze
Melissa: Mother’s Day: Oven Scrambled Eggs and Orange Coconut French Toast
Katie: Earth Day: Roasted Shrimp with Cannelini Beans and Roasted Radicchio
Debby: Mardi Gras: Cajun Mandu with Country Rice and Black Beans
Michael: Halloween: Wonton Wrapped Tuna with Butternut Squash Salad
Brett: April Fool’s Day: Pan Seared Filet Mignon and Lobster Tempura
Jeffrey: Groundhog Day: Lobster and Chorizo Stuffed Avocado
Teddy: Labor Day: Surf and Turf with a Marinated Filet and Lump Crab Cake
Jamika: New Year’s Eve: Spiced Collard Greens with Sweet Corn Bread
Melissa did well both with the food and the presentation. They liked her but once again the comment comes up to harness her energy. Jeffrey says that spring makes him want Mexican food? Jeffrey’s presentation was good but the food was seperate. Jamika went to sex in her presentation. They liked her food. Katie started well but then she went a bit diareahal in the nutrition bit. They thought the food was boring as was her education. Teddy was a little much , to me, in the presentation. Bobby Flay said he was doing the “acty” thing. Brett did an April’s Fool joke that he was quitting. I thought it was a little dorky. He didn’t connect his food to the holiday. There was shell in Bobby’s lobster. Debby did well but not as good as usual. They thought the recipe might have been a little to complicated. Then it was Michael’s turn. He was really entertaining. Eddie came in with a magnum of champagne. He went a little salesman for me and stodgy. He also went a little to TMI on his first date. He also talked about cooking for women is different. Giada was a bit offended. Now I think that Katie should be the one sent home tonight. But we will see.
They thought Jeffrey and Debby did well. They hit Katie for educating and not entertaining. They liked Michael’s presentation but thought the food was to complicated. Eddie shared to much. Giada slammed him on “cooking a certain way for women”. Jamika did well with her New Year’s side dish and her presentation. Teddy’s food did well but that he needs to stay true. Brett got hit on the shell and that his presentation had nothing to do with April’s Fool. Bob said that he didn’t seem to fit food but that he just seemed to want to be on tv. Bob said that Melissa seemed to be hit by mommy mayhem. Teddy said that she should be able to do this on her own. Brett said she wouldn’t have been able to do it on her own. What jerks!! They helped her so they could use it against her here. I hope that weighs against them at some point.
The winner of the challenge was Jamika. The top 3 were Jamika, Debby and Melissa. Brett was the contestant who was cut. I think it was obvious that this was what he hoped would bring him to tv. Jamika’s recipe will be features in July (different than the challenge recipe).
So will anyone trust Teddy? Will Katie quit lecturing? Well, I will meet you back here next week to find out!

The Next Food Network Star: June 7

It is time for a new season of The Next Food Network Star. I love me some AB (Alton Brown) so I hope he still has a major role but other than Bobby Flay, I haven’t really seen any other 1 person highlighted as a major contributor.

So lets buckle in and see if this year’s crop has what it takes.
Right off the bat Jen bothered me a little. She is a “housewife 2.0”? Is that cause she works too? If so, she better step back because this 1.0 gets a little edgy when I am told that I am out of date. I will try not to hold that against her. I am excited to see a housewife in the bunch with Melissa. They overall look pretty good. But we won’t know until we see the food.
As soon as everyone gets there the contestants are summoned to the Food Network Kitchens. Then we get the selection commitee who walk us through the intro and basics. Susie seemed to stress integrity so I am interested how that will come in later.
First challenge is catering a party celebrating Food Network’s birthday with 75 guests and Access Hollywood. All the big names will be there including last year’s winner, Aaron McCargo. They were split into 2 teams, green and red. The green team is Teddy, Jamika, Brett, Jen and Melissa. The red team is Eddie, Michael, Katie, Jeffrey and Debbie. They have $1200 to shop with.
Green Team:
Brett(Captain): Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce and Butternut Squash Soup
Teddy: Herb and Truffle Infused Potato Gratin
Jamika: Floribbean Shrimp Cocktail with Mango Jicama Slaw
Melissa: Apple Tart with Carmel Drizzle
Jen: Green Beans with Walnuts and Grape Tomatoes
Red Team:
Debbie (captain): Red Curry Crab Cake with Spicy Mayo
Michael: 5 Spiced Tenderloin with Pickled Vegetable Slaw
Katie: Beet, Pomegranate, Orange Salad and Sauteed Swiss Chard
Jeffrey: Achiote Grilled Zucchini Mushroom Ragu
Eddie: BLAST balls (bacon, lettuce, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes)
They get 1 hour to shop and each team sent 2 people. Michael was sure that the Red Team was going to have budget issues. Whole Foods didn’t have the pre-made biscuit dough that Eddie was going to use so Debbie made an executive decision to change the dessert. When the Green Team checked out they have $200 left that they didn’t spend. The Red Team put a lot of stuff back because they didn’t have enough money. Jeffrey ended up getting almost none of what he needed. The dessert that Debbie decided to make was angelfood cake layers with a riccotta cream mixture.
Brett is a high energy type of captain. Whereas Debbie is a bit happy go lucky. Melissa is a bit overwhelmed. She keeps saying that she is home cook and that the commercial kitchen and quantities are overwhleming. Katie was shorted her dijon but luckily the other team had some she could use. Melissa is really worried about her crust.
Then the finalists got to go and talked to all the party guests to intro their foods. Brett kind of froze. Brett didn’t say he had a team but the staff. Teddy was coming from the mind of a chef. That is great because I am sure that no one there from Food Network knows anything about a chef’s mind.
Then we got to the eating for the Green Team. Melissa’s tart was a hit. They liked Jamika’s slaw but not her shrimp. Jen’s green beans bombed and they didn’t like her personally either. Teddy’s gratin had great flavor. They didn’t like Brett’s meat or the mushrooms with them. Duff said it made him feel like he was in jail or the army.
We are onto the Red Team. The Angel food cake is a nightmare. Debby is very entertaining. Katie seemed a bit chatty and nervous. Before we get to the eating let me say that I think pickled veg on filet mignon is so disrespectful to the meat!!!!
Onto the eating! Duff asked if they really wanted to give him cake. The crab cake wasn’t perfect but the sauce was good. The filet had a lot of spice. The zucchini was good with texture and good flavors. Alex thought the salad was safe. Ann Burrell said the salad and swiss chard seemed to be from a dietician. The BLAST balls only talked of bacon. The cake was a complete disaster.
I think the top contenders for going home at this point is Debby for the cake, Jen for the green beans and Katie for the salad.
So we start with the Red Team evaluation. Bob questioned Debbie as to why she said that they were under budget when they had been grossly over. Then they hit the angel food cake and Debbie said it was a team decision. That is such a lie!!! But they liked her mayo and her presentation. They liked Michael’s meat and his presentation. They felt Katie’s swiss chard was a throw away dish and they felt she came off a girl without authority. Eddie’s BLAST balls bombed and he seemed too corporate in his presentation. Jeffrey’s food were a hit and Bobby really liked his presentation.
Onto the Green team. Brett’s food took a hit and his presentation also stunk. Jamika’s slaw was really good but the shrimp wasn’t. Her presentation went over well. Melissa’s tart was a big hit and she needs to temper her excitement. Jen’s dish wasn’t worthy to be served at the party according to Bob. He thought her presentation was a good start but it didn’t go well. Teddy’s gratin wasn’t cooked all the way but the flavors were good. He needs to amp up the presentation.
They didn’t pick a team to win. Instead they pointed out 3 individuals who shone: Jeffrey, Michael and Melissa. They winner was Jeffrey. Jen ended up being the first person sent home.
This season seems to be interesting. I wonder if there will be integrity issues with Debby. I am disapointed because there isn’t enough Alton Brown but maybe that will change. But over all this is a big hit not only with me but the 3 older Nerdlings!!!
See you next week.